“Stay at home mum’s just play all day“
How many times have you heard this phrase?
Whether you have 1 child, 5 children, whether they’re babies or of school age, being a stay at home mum is not easy and it’s definitely not “playing all day”.
Lot’s of stay at home parents (stay at home dad’s exist too) have the struggle of battling with their own conscience and feeling like they aren’t contributing to the household bills because they don’t have an actual paying job. For some, they have no choice but to stay at home and care for their children, and more often than not, they are financially better off!
Unfortunately, there is this idea out there that staying at home is somewhat easier than working, when that’s not always the case. That’s not to say however, that the job isn’t incredibly rewarding, and I consider myself to be fortunate to be able to stay at home with my children.
Being a stay at home mum is so much more than it’s title. You are a teacher, cleaner, chef, nurse, councillor, sometimes a punchbag! Day and night, 24/7.
“You don’t get to clock in and clock out, and there are no lunch breaks”
In my personal experiences, I have found that being a stay at home mum has had a huge impact on my mental health. It can feel incredibly lonely, and you sometimes feel so disconnected from the “outside world” that you begin to forget how to socialise with anyone other than children. You begin to lose yourself, not even recognising the person staring back at you in the mirror (hell, you don’t even have time to look in the mirror). The job is draining in all aspects; physically, mentally and emotionally, and the candle is always burning at both ends.
Most days the first meal I eat is after the children have gone to bed, I have spent the whole day nourishing them, leaving not even enough time for a cup of coffee for myself. Not to mention the up keeping of the home, they make enormous amounts of mess, but that’s their prerogative. Children need clean clothes to wear (and they go through a lot), partners need clean uniform for work, so the laundry needs doing daily. I know there will be some reading this and thinking “I do all this and work a real job“, it isn’t a competition.
That said, I wouldn’t have it any other way. And working parents.. I commend you! Whether you are a stay at home mum, or a working mum, it’s hard either way.
Tips for stay-at-home parents
Cherish this special opportunity
Although it’s hard, and the days feel long, remember this time is actually so short. Time moves so quickly when you become a parent, they hit new milestones every day and you won’t want to miss them, so soak up every moment. You won’t ever get this time back, and you don’t want to look back and regret not appreciating the time enough.
If you neglect yourself too much, you will be no good to anyone, especially your children. But more than that, you deserve time for yourself. Find some time (even if its just half an hour to take a soak in the bath) to have some “me time”. Remember you are important too, and your mental health could be affected if you don’t carry out normal adult activities such as catching up with friends, getting your hair or nails done or even going to the gym (although that might not be your idea of relaxing, if you’re like me).
Spending time with your partner is also very important, you need to keep up a healthy relationship and take some time out together. Book a spa day or even just go to the supermarket together! Simple things like this that you would take for granted (before you realised how difficult it was to do when you had children) can make such a huge difference. If you’d like to read more about keeping up a healthy relationship, my husband has written a great post on his blog “How to maintain a healthy relationship“.
Get into a routine, and stick to it (as much as is possible with an ever-changing child). Firstly, children thrive on routines, they like to know what’s coming next otherwise they can feel confused and stressed. Having a calm and happy child, makes a calm and happy parent. Also, routines will help you out a lot when it comes to time management and being more efficient. You will already have a plan and schedule to follow, in turn making tasks become a “habit” rather than something you have to find the motivation to do.
Don’t stress the “small stuff”
Try not to stress over the little things that don’t matter, there is plenty of time for that when the children have grown up. You’re job as a parent is the main priority, an opportunity you won’t get back. So forget about the dusting this week or the cupboard you’ve been meaning to organise for months, and just spend time playing with your babies and making some precious memories; this is far more valuable than having an immaculate home.
Be organised, but not too organised
Similar to what I have written above, organisation is important, but try to also go with the flow a little. Sometimes things don’t always go to plan, especially when it comes to parenting. Don’t let this stress or frustrate you, just take each day as it comes and embrace a little spontaneity.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There is no shame in accepting help from others, you are not expected to do everything alone and there are no bonus points for being “Super-mum”. This could be a relative or friend, you’d be surprised at the amount of people who would be willing to help (even grateful) that you feel comfortable enough to ask them for a little help, and that you trust them enough to be open about your need for it.
Socialise with other adults
Sometimes you can end up spending so much time at home alone with only children, you forget how to have a conversation with a grown adult, or a conversation that isn’t about kids. This can be damaging for your mental health, causing you to feel uncomfortable or anxious about socialising. You can get into the habit of locking yourself away from the world, and it can be difficult to rebuild that confidence. You can spend time with friends and family, or even meet new friends at groups who may share the same experiences as you.
Appreciate the special privilege you have been given to be able to be a stay at home parent, because not everyone has this option, and would love nothing more. Also, if your partner is the one who goes to work to provide financially, don’t forget to show your appreciation to them.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions do not hesitate to leave a comment or contact me.